Back in the old American Trans Air (ATA) maintenance days at Ontario International Airport (ONT), we used to do lunch, more often than not, in our old, clapped-out Cheech & Chong van over at the Remain Over Night (RON) ramp. The RON ramp was where we usually feasted on the meals the ATA crews used to leave for us poor, hungry, dead-of-the-night, Boeing 737 Mechanic-Types (as mentioned in a previous installment from the "Maintenance Files).
While enjoying the finest of Inflight Kitchen cuisine from the van, we used to field stares from Airport Police (the Ontario flat-foots were a particularly suspicious bunch), catch up on paperwork, catch up on sleep, watch the late-night south of the border arrivals, be entertained by the UPS and FedEx action, and check out the pilot training Skywest Airlines used to conduct in their EMB-120's. From the radio chatter, most of their mission training profiles were RWY 8L/R ILS backcourse approaches to and from the POM VOR. It was interesting to hear their turbo-props droning through the night as we worked.
As to the aforementioned RON ramp/lunchroom, it was always an interesting mix of Southwest 737's, Delta 737's and 757's, American MD-80's and 737's, Alaska MD-80's, Aero Mexico MD-87's (Long Live the Mad Dog!) and 737's, U.S. Air A320's, and the usual mix of Horizon and Skywest CRJ's. Even though we worked on airplanes for a living, we never tired of them, so roaming the RON "Lot" was always a joy. One, usual, RON'er was the special-liveried CRJ in the above photo, as it was a nice break from the usual corporate schemed Skywest equipment.
Even though the experience was some years ago, the sights, the sounds, and yes, even the smells of the airport are still fresh in the mind. And, though it was a major airport in the middle of a big metropolis, it was a nice piece of quiet Heaven, in the middle of the night, for a couple of weary, aviation-loving, mechanics.